Update: It looks like the free streaming was only available until January 12. Hopefully a distributor picks up the film soon! Check back for updates.
We recently shared our list of the best undistributed films of 2020 and at the very top of my personal list for the ones I hoped would get picked up first was John Gianvito’s Her Socialist Smile, a fascinating documentary exploring Helen Keller’s life-long passion and activism for socialism and fighting for the working class. Thankfully, it’s now available to stream for free courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, with this wide accessibility hopefully serving as an education for some.
Mark Asch said in his New York Film Festival review, “You may have known that Helen Keller was a comrade, a life-long socialist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World; in Her Socialist Smile, John Gianvito assembles Keller’s political addresses and writings into a portrait of a warrior for social justice and a passionate, insightful proselytizer of Marxist thought. She instigated a Braille translation of Bakunin and advocated for a general strike during the first Red Scare. Now, in a time of national self-criticism, when seemingly no American monument is safe from revisionism, Helen Keller emerges from Her Socialist Smile to appear even more inspiring, relevant, and righteous than in the official narrative—appears, perhaps, the only truly based person they teach you about in elementary school.”
Click here or the image below to watch the film (with a hat tip to C.J. Prince), and we’ve also included some conversations about the film from its NYFF premiere. Gianvito’s 2007 film Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind is also playing for free.